At times its a very useful tool, it’s nice to feel part of a community that understands, but mostly its a tool I don’t need anymore.
I am doing well now. I know how to manage my anxiety. I know that if I am stressed for any length of time I will become anxious and then depressed. I have learnt when to say no, not to take on too much, to exercise, and to drink moderately. I know when I’m not coping and I’ve had enough, and I pop my pills.
Learning these things has taken me the best part of 20 years. I didn’t want to be this person. I saw myself as weak. I was ashamed that I took medication, if I’m honest I still am, I just know I shouldn’t be. I was ashamed that I couldn’t cope with the things others found easy, anything I couldn’t control terrified me, and I’m talking to you honestly and I can talk to a few close friends about how hard I have found it at times to cope with life, but being honest with the World, am I ready for that even now??
The problem is that if I’d been honest and unashamed right from the start and people had been open and honest with me about their problems, so much could have been learnt, so much more quickly and without the pain and the fear. I wouldn’t have struggled in the dark, I would have got advice from people who’d been there rather than those who’d read about it, or professionals who just didn’t have the time to explain things to me in a language I understood however much they would have liked to. It could have saved so much painful struggling, so much confusion for me and my bemused family, and so many bad coping mechanisms that were established and have had to be painstakingly unravelled.
The truth is that the medical profession largely haven’t got the time and mostly not the same understanding as someone who suffers from the same condition.
The other reason we need to be honest about our mental health issues is that the longer problems are not addressed properly the harder it is to climb out of the pit and engage with the world again. Fear becomes the norm and fear builds on fear until everything has spiralled out of control, and patterns have been established. Often someone has struggled for a long time before they get any help.
So what's changed since I first had problems with my mental health? The world has changed for a start. People have started to talk about how they feel more openly, we have become more accepting as a community. There is still a long way to go, people often talk tolerance but still hold prejudice within them, these things take time, it’s unlikely to be us that benefit from us opening up but if my children or grandchildren struggle with mental health problems Id like the world to be ready to understand and accept them.
A Moodscope member.